HomeMusicOverview: Because of Chick Corea, the Trombone Is a Philharmonic Star

Overview: Because of Chick Corea, the Trombone Is a Philharmonic Star


There are not precisely a wealth of nice concertos written for the trombone, that largely unheralded stalwart of the brass part. (Insert sad trombone sound right here.) If anybody goes to vary this state of affairs, it’s Joseph Alessi, the principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic. He’s an idol of legions of brass gamers for his wealthy tone, exemplary phrasing and virtuosic precision.

In 1992, Alessi premiered Christopher Rouse’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto. Almost three many years later, Alessi requested the broadly cherished jazz keyboardist and composer Chick Corea, who was enmeshed with classical music all through his life, to create a trombone concerto. That work acquired its U.S. premiere on the Philharmonic on Thursday night, carried out by Alessi underneath the baton of Marin Alsop, one other artist who simply code switches between jazz and classical idioms.

The premiere was initially scheduled for the orchestra’s 2020-21 season. But with the onset of the pandemic, these plans have been deserted. Corea died of cancer in February 2021, and the concerto stands as his final completed work. (A recording, with Alessi as soloist, is scheduled for release this November on the Parma document label.)

The four-movement work options an enormous battery of percussion devices — together with gongs, marimba, xylophone and African cowbells — that lend a brand new palette of shimmering colours to the orchestra. And it exhibits off the marvel of Alessi’s approach and musicianship: within the first motion’s bluesy slides, within the lyrical tenderness of a second-movement waltz, and in devilish Sixteenth-note runs in “Hysteria,” the third motion, which Corea wrote as pandemic lockdowns have been simply starting. A remaining tango attracts collectively the soloist and orchestra, earlier than permitting Alessi to complete triumphantly on a collection of excessive F sharps, venturing into trumpet territory.

Corea had supposed to play the distinguished piano half in early performances. Instead, John Dickson, who orchestrated the concerto, is performing it with the Philharmonic. As an encore, Alessi launched Dickson they usually performed a quick homage to Corea written by Dickson. It was a heartfelt adieu to their mutual buddy and collaborator.

The program opened with Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1. Written when Barber was simply 25, it’s a mature surprise of a piece, woefully under-programmed. (The final time the Philharmonic performed it was through the Clinton administration.) Among its pleasures are declarative brass, crisp percussion, richly coloured string writing and an exquisitely lyrical third motion.

The New York Philharmonic musicians have lastly relaxed into trusting the acoustics in David Geffen Hall. Gone is their urge to push exhausting to be heard — a necessity earlier than the renovation. Instead, they now luxuriate within the likelihood to sculpt sound in house.

Alsop celebrated that skill in 12 chosen actions from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” Suites Nos. 1, 2 and three, starting with the fiery opening blasts of “The Montagues and the Capulets” and ending with the tear-stained “Death of Juliet.” Alsop drew out all of the sharp accents and fast turns in “The Death of Tybalt,” and made the many of the silvery allure of the “Aubade.”

Her vivid sense of colour and rhythmic readability framed Prokofiev’s ballet music as an thrilling complement to the Barber Symphony, written the identical yr as a few of the Prokofiev alternatives. This sort of artistic juxtaposition, by which one piece illuminates one other, is the essence of fine live performance programming.

New York Philharmonic

This program repeats via Saturday at David Geffen Hall, Manhattan; nyphil.org.

Content Source: www.nytimes.com


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